The Anti-Corruption court has tasked the directorate of public prosecution (DPP) to expedite investigations in the case where human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo is accused of money laundering.
State attorney, Steven Ariong on Monday informed court that investigations were incomplete and needed more time to finalise them. Opiyo’s lawyer David Mpanga asked court to direct the DPP to expedite the investigations to enable his client to regain his freedom.
Mpanga also told the court that some of the current bail conditions are not favourable to Opiyo especially on the condition of reporting to court registrar twice in a month.
Accordingly, Grade one magistrate Moses Nabende agreed with him and issued orders to that effect. The prosecution alleges that on October 8, 2020, at Absa bank, Garden City branch in Kampala district, Opiyo's organization, Chapter Four Uganda where he is the executive director received $340,000 (about Shs 1.2 billion) under account number, 6004078045 well knowing that at the time of receipt the money in question was proceeds of crime.
Opiyo was first arraigned in Nakawa Magistrate's court and remanded to Kitalya government prison last year before he was granted bail by the High court. He'd been dramatically arrested by plain-clothed operatives while having lunch at Lamaro restaurant in Kamwokya.
Opiyo was later taken to the Special Investigations Unit in Kireka together with four other lawyers/human defenders; Simon Peter Esomu, Anthony Odur, Dakasi Herbert and Hamidu Tenywa.
Opiyo's arrest sparked off a barrage of criticism from several organizations including the Uganda Law Society, foreign embassies and human rights activists, who argued that he had been arrested unlawfully on trumped-up charges.
Opiyo will return to court on January 28, 2021, to be updated on the status of investigations.